It's always been interesting to me that most people and even more people with disabilities still have little, if any, real knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA was passed, primarily, to try to level the playing field for all of America's people with disabilities in the areas of employment, public services, public transportation,
community services, etc.
It was also written with real thought about giving employers, both large and small, the benefit of what their concerns and needs might be, rather than just being perceived as the Feds trying to ram another governmental program down the throats of business again.
The ADA was signed into law on July 26 of 1992 by then-President George H. W. Bush. With that preamble, let me just start this series of columns on various disability issues by Indicating that I want to spend the next few weeks talking
about the ADA and its various Titles, while answering a number of questions, and specifying the several tax incentives that the ADA also has made available to those entities that use the ADA to help people with disabilities to succeed in today's America.
To begin with, there are five Titles in the ADA. They are: Title I
concerns employment; Title II addresses public services; Title III
covers public accommodations; Title IV encompasses
telecommunications; and Title V reviews a host of other, or
In order to review each title in more detail, I will begin by describing what employment issues are covered under Title I. This title now encompasses all employers with 15 or more employees.
Remedies for violations of Title I of the ADA include hiring,
reinstatement, promotional, back pay, front pay, restored
benefits, reasonable accommodation, attorneys' fees,
expert witness fees, and court costs. Compensatory and
punitive damages may also be available in cases of intentional
Title II addresses all public services and rapid rail including
fixed-route systems, paratransit, demand response systems
and buses, and other municipal transportation facilities.
In addition, all such vehicles and their stations must now
be fully accessible for all people with disabilities.
It also says that all Amtrak passenger coaches must have accessible coaches, while all Amtrak stations must have been retrofitted by now, while "key" commuter stations must have all been retrofitted by now, too.
Title III addresses all public accommodations, including all business and service providers that offer and provide their services to the public.
It also covers new construction and alterations to public accommodations and commercial facilities.
Moreover, it also applies to businesses with 10 or fewer employees and revenues of $500,000 or less.
Title IV was written to address all types of telecommunications in order to ensure their accessibility and accommodative use by all employees, especially those who are hearing impaired.
All regulations covered by the ADA are also enforced by the Federal Communications Commission under those rules developed under the ADA.
Title V is intended to encompass the ADA's relationship to other
laws while explaining insurance issues, prohibiting individual state immunities, providing for congressional inclusion, and setting regulations published by the ATBCB, while explaining the implementation of each Title and notes concerning amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
That explains the basics, in a nutshell, of those issues covered by the ADA through its five Titles. Next, we'll describe the two
major tax incentives provided through the ADA to any and all private businesses for hiring individuals with disabilities to their work forces.
One is a General Business Tax Credit of up to $10,250 each year, while the second is an itemized tax deduction of up to $15,000 per year.
Paul Rendine is chairman of the Disability Advocates of Delmarva Inc. group. He can be reached at his e-mail address at email@example.com with any questions, comments, or suggestions.